Imagine that every child has a cup that needs to be filled — with affection, love, security, and attention. Some seem to have a full cup most of the time, or know good ways to get a refill. But most children get a little nervous when their cup gets near empty.
I came across this picture of the Emotional Cup a little while ago and thought it was something I wanted to share with my boys, especially my oldest son James who is finishing off Grade 7 and heading to boarding school next year. He is 13 years old. Suddenly I feel like I’m running out of time to make sure that he’s got all the life skills needed for next year and the years to follow so maybe I admit that I have been cramming in the ‘lecturing’ a little bit but it really does come from a good place. Having our very own teenager in the house means that there have been moments when there are simply no words…I’d love to share one of these recent moments with you involving the emotional cup…
A few weeks ago we were on our way to a cricket match. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to chat to him very casually about his ‘emotional cup’ and making sure that he was taking time out from his busy schedule to recharge his batteries etc and he’s not running on empty, blah, blah, blah – oh I had so much more I could’ve said but thought I’d choose my moments wisely. Trying not to let it sound like any sort of lecture the conversation went something like this:
Me: ‘My boy, picture yourself as a cup…what kind of cup would you like to be? What does it look like, colour?’ I open up the question to Tom as well who’s sitting quietly in the backseat because I think that maybe the more interactive I make it the more likely they’ll buy into it.
James: ‘Agh mom, is this another one of your lectures?’ Cheeky!
Me: ‘No, it’s something really interesting I want to share with you and it’ll give you something to think about, especially for next year.’
James: After quite a long silence…‘Mom, how about a bra cup?’
I had one of those instant ‘there are no words’ moments. How on earth could my question have triggered this kind of response. My mind is spinning – how do we always land up having this kind of conversation in the car – there’s no escape. At least I haven’t had to make any eye contact…yet.
Me: In my calmest voice…’Hmmmm interesting choice James – what made you think of that?’
James: Well DJ xxxx was talking about his bra cup size on the radio yesterday Mom. He says he’s a size 36.’ Do you get bigger than that Mom? And why does he have a bra size?’
Right, I see…. nice one DJ xxx! Miraculously in that moment I’m reminded that every situation can be turned into some form of learning. Obviously, this had piqued his interest and I decided to tackle it head on. As for Tom, who knows what thoughts were going through his mind in the back seat, but I didn’t have time to worry about that just then as I was facing my own little crisis in the front seat.
So, James got the low down about bra sizes and that no, men don’t generally have a bra size!
Me: ‘Right, okay my boy any other questions before we move on? Silence. Okay guys, getting back to our cup, what sort of drinking cup should we picture?’
James: ‘Mom, how about an espresso bra cup?’ He is now grinning at me…
Okay, this was just not going according to plan – so an espresso bra cup is what was used to explain a very helpful bit of information (see the picture to read more about looking out for our kids emotions – most helpful…) What on earth does an espresso bra cup look like anyway? It was brutal!